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Freelancing, Failure, Follow-up, Risk, Reframing and the Passionate Life: Gregg Levoy Intvw Transcript Part 2

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storycon.org H4'ed 12/13/15
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GL: The courage, right, to find your heart, to look at what is preventing you from living the full life that you were designed to have. You know, I mean this is the call of every creature is maximum aliveness. And we're no different, that's part of our bottom up heritage is we are creatures and that's our call.

Rob: Now you talk about courage, the opposite of courage is fear? Maybe not the opposite, but it's a piece of it.

GL: Absolutely, yes.

Rob: What about fear and tying that in with this?

GL: Well fear, fear - I used to see this bumper sticker everywhere on my travels, this goes back a few years. It's a bumper sticker that said no fear, and I think it was for a clothing line or something, but I saw it everywhere on my travels; no fear. And you know, I just don't buy it. I don't buy it. The fear is a biological imperative; it's hardwired in any creature that has a brain, alright? I think that what can happen sometimes for people is from time to time, something else becomes more important to you than the fear that you feel and then you act with real courage and commitment, but no fear; this is outer space stuff. I mean this doesn't exist on planet earth and the idea that you can be fearless, you know, actually I've seen this in self-help books: five steps to making X, Y, and Z happen. One of the steps is often let go of your fears. I mean come on.

Rob: Well there are people who are fearless, you know what they're called?

GL: Dead.

Rob: No, psychopaths.

GL: Oh, okay. Right my point exactly. You know? I saw one of these bumper stickers, the no fear bumper stickers in Tucson, Arizona, a few years back. Same bumper sticker, slight alteration made in it, I think in the name of credibility, and this one said some fear. And some fear's a lot closer to the truth.

Rob: So how does this apply to young people who are out of work and the twenty-five percent or forty percent if they're people of color.

GL: Oh, is it really that high?

Rob: Yeah.

GL: I know, I mean this kind of stuff, this whole conversation can be in the luxury category. You know? When you're talking about I just got to make a living, or I just got to get out of my parent's house or whatever, and I mean in some ways, what better time to contemplate these questions then when you're unemployed and you have time on your hands to really recalculate what direction you want to go, and I've actually heard people who have been - become unemployed say actually it was a great opportunity for me to reset my clock. You know, to ask okay now that I'm unemployed, I might as well ask what do I really want to do next? So there's that you know, it's an opportunity to at least consider, alright I have the freedom I'd rather not have this freedom, but I have the freedom to ask okay, what do I really want to do? I mean ultimately my take on this stuff has always been figure out what you love to do and figure out a way to get somebody to pay you to do it. You know? My uncle said - I shared that sentiment with him once, he said okay, so what if you want to be a shepherd? Not exactly a lot of job opportunities around for shepherds. I said you know if you wanted it bad enough you'd move to New Zealand. Sheep outnumber people there twelve to one, you know, in the sense of you do what it takes, right? I had a student at the University of Wisconsin raise his hand and say well what I'd like to do most is sleep and I said well you know, if you - the fact is, you can get paid to sleep. And he goes no way, I said there are sleep labs at universities and medical centers around the world and they pay people to sleep. I'm not saying you can you know, raise a family of four on what you earn by doing it, but you know, where there's a will there's a way. So, - and of course what I would offer to people in this situation is a humble bow. I really get what people are up against you know, to some degree. You know, not everybody, but I get how difficult it is to be in that situation and to feel a million miles away from not only finding your passion, but making a living at it? I can see why people would think that's an absolute luxury. And the point is calls were never meant to pay the bills; they were meant to be honored, it was about service, it was not about paying the mortgage and people have this idea nowadays that passions should pay the bills and just as a historical note, it was never meant to shoulder that burden. The point of passions and calls is get it in your life to some degree, sooner than later. Just act on it in the affirmative, this is not about you have to make a living doing it. So that's something I would say to them is just get it in your life to some degree and then look at the feedback your life gives you and follow the path as it unfolds that way.

Rob: Okay, so I'm going to throw a quote from you, you riff on it.

GL: Okay.

Rob: And then I'm going to just talk a little bit about what you do a bit more, but this is the last thing that we're going to really do. So here's the quote "God's first word to Abraham was go, with no more information than that Abraham was seventy-five years old and God told him to get out of town, no destination just go and that by doing so he'd be blessed. The blessing was simply in going." So as we say goodbye to the readers on this interview, listeners, transcript readers, riff on go.

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